The ITFA Emerging Leaders initiative is the corollary of the industry’s understanding of how important it is to portray trade finance as an exciting, vibrant and dynamic essential component of the financial services sector. TFG spoke to the brains behind the Emerging Leaders Committee:

Through a diverse range of activities, including seminars, industry promotion events (where our very own trade finance course at MSc level at Cass Business School takes center stage), networking opportunities, Emerging Leaders focused awards, a global mentoring programme, amongst many other things, we seek to promote trade finance as a brilliant career path.

In summary, we are enhancing the sustainability of the industry by ensuring we attract and retain talent to take world trade forward. 

Duarte Pedreira, Chair, ITFA Emerging Leaders

Introducing the ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee

Nigel Atta-Mensah – The ‘Woke’ Banker

What’s your 30-second elevator pitch?

Born in Ghana and raised between Accra and London, I have grown up with a variety of international experience, especially where people and culture are concerned. This has greatly influenced my dealings in both my personal and professional life, always looking to deliver as much impact as possible as I work with colleagues and clients across the world to support the work of international development organizations, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. I have also had the opportunity quite early in my career to cover 14 countries across East and Southern Africa as a relationship manager, supporting clients with millions of customers gain access to international markets through correspondent banking services and trade finance, including opportunity to access more foreign currency liquidity in the G10 FX space.

Outside of banking, I enjoy photography, film and documentaries, often spending days on YouTube soaking up seemingly random but ultimately (and surprisingly) quite useful information on a range of topics. In this, I am able to explore my passion for tech and learn more about how people are solving problems across the globe, which seamlessly feeds back into the role I occupy at the bank.

What does a day in the life of a regional banker look like?

Currently, my daily role actually does not involve as much trade finance as it previously did when I was managing relationships with clients across East and Southern Africa. As you can imagine, with key regional hubs like Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania, there was typically a large demand for clients for LC confirmation services and my role would involve working with clients to properly optimize the lines we made available to them to facilitate the transactions of their underlying clients. This would involve periodic calls to understand the pipeline the client had and mapping that with our own facilities we had available to them, while balancing our desire to do more for these clients and being cautious, considering the potential outcomes involved in taking on too much risk. Working with development organizations now, my focus is largely on payments and FX, but despite this, I am exploring new opportunities to share and expand my trade finance expertise, especially with the larger entities who often require will be issuing guarantees for some of the smaller partners they collaborate with to facilitate international development.

What are your ambitions and objectives as an ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee member?

Within the ITFA EL committee, my aim is to continue to be a role model for those looking to get into the banking and trade finance industry, taking opportunities to share the knowledge I have gained in a relatively short time, while enrolling others in my bank to get more involved with the ITFA and ultimately contributing positively towards the expansion of the emerging leaders within the trade finance industry. Replicating some of the work I have done in my bank as CSR program lead, I am looking to take on opportunities that allow me to engage with students, especially as I have only recently graduated within the past few years, teaching these potential trade financiers that there really are rewarding alternatives to Investment Banking and Corporate Finance, that also allow you to have a significant impact on the development of regions and even potentially the world.

I have had such a positive experience being a member of the ITFA EL committee and want as many people to share the same, if not better, experience, which I believe will serve to create a new type of modern day trade financier!

Beatrice Boldini – Networking as a business: we are where our clients need to be

What’s your 30-second elevator pitch?

After graduating in foreign languages applied to communication in Milan, I wasn’t entirely sure what my career path would be so I moved to Paris and then London and after a few entry roles in sales, I joined my company 7 years ago and simply grew fonder of the world of trade and its people. Starting with no background whatsoever in trade, the magazine company I now work for was a golden guide and as soon as I moved into the events sphere (my company hosts over 17 global trade events per year), the combination of my curiosity and relationship building skills allowed me to travel to very interesting places and learn so much from global and regional players.

I am now Associate Director for Business Development and directly responsible for the relationships and commercial growth of markets such as Russia & CIS, Nordics, Turkey as well as managing key global accounts. The media role we play is everything but boring: we are literally in the middle of the whole ecosystem of corporates, traders, banks, funds, insurers, brokers, Finetchs, lawyers so we entertain a truly wide spectrum of discussions and learn of new products, companies & cutting edge platforms on almost daily basis.

I could take up to 30 flights a year and time management is key also from a personal perspective but the perks and the pleasure of joining the Trade Finance specifically in this time of tangible changes, it is hugely rewarding.

What does a day in the life of a trade finance event manager look like?

My day is mainly dedicated to speaking with clients, that be via phone or most likely with face-to-face meetings to understand their regions of interest and support their marketing and sale strategy. Each player has different needs and this is what makes my job extremely interesting. Each discussion/approach is different!

Being responsible for event sponsorship and advertising sales portfolio while also managing our global subscription department, requires me to attend weekly internal meetings too so we all are all clear what needs to be done to achieve the best common result. As we are a lean organization, coordination is key. 

Post-event meetings are also vital to identify and evaluate weakness and strengths of each product/event and seek improvement based on timely feedback from clients and partners. 

I actively plan and execute all my trips and deliver creative marketing solutions to clients within budgets and deadlines. 

This is done by crucially coordinating clients’ activities with all areas of the business including production, editorial and event logistics to ensure an effective and collaborative approach.

What are your ambitions and objectives as an ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee member?

I joined the ITFA EML committee 2 years ago and it was one of the things I am most proud of in my career. We are actively advocating for the industry as a to-go place for a long-term career in trade. Our prime scope is to bridge the gap knowledge between the top tier TF executives who will retire in the next 10 years and us Emerging Leaders keen to make a difference in the upcoming decades.

We have been presenting and inspiring University students from Cass Business School in London & CUNEF University from Madrid on top of monthly seminars kindly supported by ITFA members with a great variety of topics discussed in front of more Emerging Leaders. 

This industry-awareness exercise is an ongoing commitment for ITFA and the EML Committee which has brought extraordinary results so far with a growing audience participation and a successful free Mentorship Programme put in place.

Due to the complexity of the industry, the ITFA EML Committee is tasked to create accessible opportunities to gain knowledge for all young professionals who might not have the opportunity to attend industry related events, usually offered exclusively to more senior colleagues.

Dr Izabela Czepirska – Where Banking, FinTech and Academia meet

What’s your 30-second elevator pitch?

I have always been passionate about global economics, geography and how countries transact with each other. Without even knowing that this is what trade finance is all about, I was drawn to the perspective of utilizing development economics, finance and technology, which later found application in my career. 

I started at a large bank on a graduate programme across Transaction Banking, Cash Management, Credit Risk and Trade Finance where I stayed for further 5 years. First in the EMEA Trade Business Office, assisting the daily management of all Trade products in 50+ countries, then Risk Distribution & Syndication desk and finally in Supply Chain Finance.

Simultaneously to me working at the bank, I commenced a full-time PhD programme at Warsaw School of Economics. My dissertation on microfinance around financial inclusion and use of technology came to fruition in June 2019 when I was awarded a PhD cum laude in finance.

Soon after I joined my fintech company in London, a blockchain trade finance software platform tied to Ethereum headquartered in Silicon Valley, where I now serve as Product Director and build what I wrote my PhD about.

I find the intersection of academic, banking and FinTech landscape fascinating. We live in exciting times as nobody really knows where the Trade Finance industry is going, so it is great to watch the change from different angles and to be part of the transformation.

What does a day in the life of a Product Director look like?

In a start-up environment, even more than in banking, every day is unpredictable and there is only as much that you can plan. Certain aspects are completely out of your control, but opportunities come every week, so you have you be nimble enough to seize them!

Key daily activities:

  • Designing and documenting what the product offering is in a regulatory, legal, compliance and technical sense,
  • Writing and reviewing specs (it is a FinTech term!) which describe how the product needs to be developed, meaning what needs to go to the code in the weekly sprints of tech releases,
  • Working with funders and clients to crystalize expectations and adjust the product framework to capture their feedback,
  • Giving input on internal and external legal counsel calls on how the product works and participating in documents drafting,
  • Managing partnerships with vendors within the direct product perimeter to make the product offering as innovative but also as safe and reliable as possible. Managing means: attending demos & calls, visiting multiple offices in Shoreditch, the City and Canary Wharf and preparing the selection criteria on who we choose to work with and why, 
  • Meeting a lot of financial services representatives, colleagues and friends to keep up with what the changes in the market are as well as attending events and conferences as a speaker and participant.

What are your ambitions and objectives as an ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee member?

I have recently joined the ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee and am absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of positive energy among our board that goes into making Trade Finance one of the top career choices in the financial sector for young professionals.

Given my experience in different parts of Trade Finance and strong academic background I intend to support the Committee with the initiatives we put together in the areas of ITFA EL London events, academic panels and individual coaching sessions. As Trade Finance is a relatively small community, it’s important we all stay connected and identify what needs and could be done for our current and future members. Aarti’s and Duarte’s visionary ideas have so far translated into reality and we are motivated to keep up executing on the plan we have jointly created. The objective is to stay relevant and be reachable so that we get closer to the vision state, month by month.

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Sam Fowler-Holmes – Working hard today to make a better tomorrow

What’s your 30-second elevator pitch?

Born and bred in South Wales, I have always been fascinated by the world in which we live and the amazing array of different cultures and environments. I also enjoy problem solving and taking on new challenges which led me first to study law at university and then to life as a lawyer in a City law firm.

While Trade Finance was very much a new industry for me when I first came across it 9 years ago, I was immediately hooked and thoroughly enjoy working in this niche but vitally important industry. Nearly everything I do has an international element and involves working with people across the globe which provides a real insight into the different countries and cultures that my clients work in.

Outside of work, life primarily centres around my three young children who ensure life is fast paced in and out of the office! To the extent that free time exists, I enjoy all sports (although I am increasingly becoming an armchair fan rather than an active participant) and love reading, whether it’s the latest crime thriller, an autobiography or simply browsing Wikipedia to learn something new.

What does a day in the life of a trade finance lawyer look like?

My role is to assist my clients to be able to achieve the objectives that they have set out to achieve. As such, what happens in any particular day will be dictated by what my clients need at that time, whether that be drafting transaction-specific documentation, providing advice on particular matters or simply meeting to discuss recent market trends or latest legal issues.

While much of my day-to-day work can be similar, there is no such thing as a ‘repeat’ deal or a ‘plain vanilla’ transaction and there is always something new or different to make sure that things are never dull.

I also dedicate time to ensuring that I keep up-to-date with recent developments in the industry, as well as, any relevant judicial decisions and legislative changes or proposals. While legal excellence is expected from lawyers, I was surprised when I started working at how much clients look to their lawyers for guidance on a range of issues that extend far beyond the purely legal sphere. This is something I have focussed on throughout my career as I think it is really important to understand my clients’ businesses in order to be able to build strong relationships and to assist them proactively rather than reactively. 

What are your ambitions and objectives as an ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee member?

I am a recent addition to the Emerging Leaders team, having only joined at the start of 2020. My driver for joining the team reflects the fact that I have found myself gaining increasing responsibility for the development of the more junior team members at my law firm. This has in turn made me much more aware of the importance of initiatives such as the Emerging Leaders programme which are vital to encouraging people to take an interest in trade finance and hopefully seeing this as an industry that they can be happy to work in.  

I have been really impressed with the many initiatives already underway and the great work already being done by the Emerging Leaders team. I would strongly recommend to everyone to participate in the programme as much as they can and I look forward to being able to contribute to the ongoing success of the programme.

Pouya Jafari – Slowly figuring out how the world works by learning about trade

What’s your 30-second elevator pitch?

I love trade! Not only trade finance, but trade policy, trade technology, trade theory, and trade history. As a lifelong student of how countries, companies, and people engage with one another, I am still amazed that my day job is to help companies trade with each other across borders by providing them with vital financing.

I’m at the beginning of my career but I’ve already had the opportunity to work with trade in a number of capacities – first at an insurance company, then a bank, and now at an alternative credit asset manager. I also founded an educational trade finance website that aims to be the go-to resource for newcomers to trade finance.

At this stage, I’m all about learning as much as I can and I’m excited to see what the future holds!

What does a day in the life of a trade finance professional at an alternative credit asset manager look like?

In one word: busy! My days are really hectic – my company is a lean organisation but we are involved in so many different areas. My role requires me to be a commercially minded front office business person but also a diligent investment and credit analyst, and I’m always juggling lots of tasks. 

My main responsibilities include originating, structuring, and analysing new investment opportunities for our funds, liaising with our investors, and being involved in strategic business opportunities, such as new partnerships. I also get involved in our marketing efforts and like everyone else, I am expected to know what goes on across the wider business.

A typical day involves a combination of the following tasks:

  • Team meeting to discuss our new business pipeline and portfolio performance;
  • Meeting with companies, investors, banks, brokers, and insurers to discuss the terms of a deal we are working on together;
  • Call with our lawyers to get advice on some clauses in a new contract;
  • Financial statement and cash flow analysis of a potential borrower;
  • Presenting an investment proposal to internal and external stakeholders;
  • Meeting with the marketing team to provide input for a new initiative.

What are your ambitions and objectives as an ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee member?

My trade finance career goes hand-in-hand with my involvement with ITFA. I joined the ITFA Emerging Leaders initiative as a mentee in the Martin Ashurst Mentorship Forum shortly after I got my first full-time job and I’ve been on the Emerging Leaders Board for more than two years now, currently serving as its Deputy Chairperson.

My activities vary but some highlights over the past two years include co-authoring (with Jana Kalousova) an article on the accounting treatment of payables finance that has since become an industry-standard guide used by several banks, presenting career options in trade finance at universities, and speaking about different trade-related topics at countless conferences and events.

My vision for the Emerging Leaders initiative is to make our group a powerful force for spreading information about trade finance, in particular aimed at young, talented professionals who are considering a career in trade finance. Under Duarte’s leadership we’ve made amazing progress and it is our job to make sure we keep and build on the momentum in years to come.

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Natasa Ruiter – Life is what happens, when you are making plans

What’s your 30-second elevator pitch?

While studying Economics, back home in Slovenia, I believed my path was straight forward. But life had other plans and 17 years and 2 kids later, I live in the Netherlands. My path turned out to be anything but straight forward. I may not ever get used to some Dutch customs, ie cycling everywhere even in the rain! Others I embrace wholeheartedly, like their directness and openness.

Over the years the bank has given me many great opportunities, from working on the mid-corporate side dealing with Dutch corporates, to understanding, while working as a Relationship Manager for CEE FIs, that other Financial Institutions are not only competitors, but can be clients or partners as well. 

However, my current role working in Risk Distribution really encompasses many aspects, why I get up with a smile every morning. I am not only fortunate to deal with colleagues across the globe, but my clients are just as diverse. Beside that we deal with something tangible and vital for any economy; Trade.

What does a day in the life of a trade finance distribution specialist look like?

My day is impossible to predict and no two days are alike, but one thing is always certain, there will be lots of interaction. There is constant dialogue with colleagues and clients, be it via phone, email or face-to-face. Lots of my daily activity is driven by the team that originates assets, as that will determine what we are trying to Distribute. On the other side of the spectrum are our clients that are offering assets, which if they match our appetite we also try to accommodate. Unfortunately no job is without its administrative, documentary burden as our team is also responsible for negotiating and drafting of all Framework and Sales agreements. Part of being proactive and not only reactive in my role, is also understanding the various markets and dynamics. Which means staying informed on the political landscape, economic development, trade trends in various regions and of course the bank’s internal view.

What are your ambitions and objectives as an ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee member?

My number one objective as an ITFA EL Committee member is to organize and get a similar momentum for Emerging Leaders here in Amsterdam, as in London. I am convinced that with the various institutions here there are plenty of ELs who would be grateful to get more knowledge on the topic of Trade. And not only that, they would appreciate the chance to expand their network and realize that London is not the only financial hub with lots of interaction and opportunities.

Aarti Patel – From Cartoonist to Trade Finance Distribution Expert

What’s your 30-second elevator pitch?

I was born in the Midlands and was fortunate enough to be part of an entrepreneurial family where I established dreams of one day working in the City of London. Growing up, I was able to learn first hand the art of sales and negotiation from my parents as I assisted them during weekends and school holidays in our family business. 

I am a foodie at heart, and when I am not experimenting with new recipes at home, you can see me burning the excess calories off through various forms of gym classes.  I also love to explore new places, using my passion for travel and photography to capture images from some of the most remote locations in the world. I love graphic design and art too – you can see my Trade financier of the year cartoon explaining how Trade Finance distribution works. 

I graduated in 2008 with a degree in Business Management and Accounting. While the financial crisis made it challenging to enter into the financial services sector, I was fortunate enough to kick start my career by entering into the world of accounting.  Although this was not my ultimate career destination, it gave me a number of transferable set of skills which I was able to utilize when I eventually started my career in trade finance, over 10 years ago. Since entering into the trade finance space, I have not looked back.  Each day is different and provides its unique challenges. I have also been able to meet a number of talented individuals. 

I have worked in a number of different areas, across Auditing, Media, Banking, FinTech, and Asset Management. Most of my career was spent at a large bank in the Global Trade Debt & Distribution division, where I focused on trade finance asset distribution.  Here, I was lucky enough to be able to develop and form some wonderful client relationships. I recently joined my company as a Director in the Origination and Business Development team where I will be focused on the origination of debt products and trade finance assets, whilst also helping to the shape the firm’s brand strategy.   

What does a day in the life of a trade finance distribution specialist look like?

I like to start the day by reading a number of financial and trade finance journals. This allows me to keep up to date with overnight market and news developments.  We live in a world where there are vast sources of information available at your fingertips, but I use an app to help synthesise some of the more interesting sources of news in one platform.   

Working at my company requires individuals to embrace an entrepreneurial spirit, that allows you to develop new ideas and solutions to the benefit of our clients.

My day involves actively speaking and meeting with established clients both on the Financial Institutions side, Corporate and NBFI clients as well as identifying new clients through prospecting tools, pitching capabilities and developing a structural solution for the client. I am also responsible for actively managing client relationships to ensure we can retain the client.  

I have the opportunity to also contribute to brand development, including participating in and preparing material for industry events and attend industry conferences. 

No day is the same which makes each day a challenge and keeps me motivated.  

What are your ambitions and objectives as an ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee member?

I have been an active member of the ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee since it first launched, in November 2017.  The Goal of this Committee is to address the increasing talent gap within trade finance by providing thought leadership and education for existing and new entrants in the trade finance industry. 

In August 2019, I was appointed as the Chairperson of the ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee.  The goal of the Committee is to provide the future talent of tomorrow with access to networking sessions, obtain careers advice, discuss topical trade finance topics, as well as develop real life soft skills. The Emerging Leaders initiative has become stronger and stronger as more awareness has been created. 

While academia can often be a useful source for developing and understanding financial concepts, organisations like ITFA can prove invaluable as it helps individuals understand the practical application of their knowledge whilst also offering an opportunity to develop a network with like-minded industry participants.  This is something that I have been able to benefit from first-hand as I have made some wonderful friends through my participation in the ITFA network.

My goal as Chairperson is to provide those individuals that are seeking to develop a successful career within the trade finance industry to be given the same level of access and set up that I was seeking when I first started my career in the financial services space.

Deepesh Patel

What’s your 30-second elevator pitch?

I’m passionate about researching the ways in which international trade impacts the real economy, and its role in achieving the UN SDGs. Trade is an engine for economic growth: strengthening MSMEs, creating jobs and wealth, empowering women-owned businesses and reducing poverty across many emerging and developing economies.

I’m a British born Gujarati, with a love of travel. Prior to my current role, I was Online Country Manager for a large FX and payments corporate, looking after their customer-facing proposition – I spent a lot of time in airports around the world!

A natural scientist at heart, I now look after the strategic direction of my company, which includes the exponential growth of our information, insights and educational content around trade and receivables finance, as well as helping corporates access much-needed finance in order to grow their cross border trade.

We established the company with the aim of bringing trade and receivables financing structures to the mid-market. I am still fascinated by the way our work impacts the real economy, through democratising access to finance.

I’m also a Governor of a federation of primary schools in London – an extremely rewarding and fun challenge – where I help to ensure equal access to education for children of all abilities and backgrounds in my local community. When I’m not working, I’ll often be found keeping fit – boxing, cycling, HIIT – or swiping through memes / TikTok videos (yes, it really is taking off)!

What does a day in the life of a ‘trade finance geek’ look like?

I love my job, and no two days are the same. The only constants are my excessive caffeine consumption levels!

My time is split between growing our trade education and information business and helping businesses access trade and receivables finance.

On the former, there’s a lot of travelling involved. Our company covers around 40 conferences and events a year, so I’m pretty militant when it comes to packing / repacking / logistics! This also comes with the privilege of speaking to hundreds of experts and leaders in my field, joining the dots and adding spice to my day. Time management is crucial, but hey, trade is a global business, right?

On the latter, we often work with non-sexy businesses – multi-billion turnover companies – including glass lens manufacturers, the makers of tracking and tagging devices and the suppliers of paper bags to the largest retailers in the world – so no two days are the same.

Another part of my role sits around trade promotion and advocating the digitalisation of trade finance. As well as ITFA, I am a member of the Standardised Trust and a Strategic Advisor for WOA, providing input on trade advocacy and promotion, as well as keeping abreast of industry wide initiatives. Given the explosion of fintechs (tradetechs) and blockchain-powered platforms within trade credit insurance, shipping and supply chain, trade documentation and trade finance, we keep the market informed and updated. I recently launched a publication on DLT for trade with the WTO last year, an eye-opening experience on the explosion of fintechs disrupting this USD $18tn industry.

What are your ambitions and objectives as an ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee member?

In my opinion, providing education and raising awareness around trade finance is the single largest opportunity to bridge the $1.5tn trade finance gap. As an industry, we overcomplicate trade and structured finance, which probably confuses corporates about the structures available to them, and prevents young talent from entering our industry. We need to break down the silos that exist within trade, finance and insurance.

Emerging leaders are often attracted to neighbouring sectors in finance – such as corporate bonds/DCM or investment banking/M&A – but what’s more exciting than real economy trade? Which includes addressing supply chain disruptions (end to end), and working with some of the smartest, most incredible people in the world.

My objectives within the ITFA EL Committee are (1) to help emerging leaders accelerate their career trajectories, and (2) raising the bar for trade finance, as the most exciting career opportunity for university graduates considering jobs in financial services.

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Charlotte Prior – Championing Sustainable Trade

What’s your 30-second elevator pitch?

I am a Trade Finance Analyst for an asset manager. In the Trade Finance Team, we invest funds via our Fund, or segregated portfolios that we manage on behalf of corporate investors. We also aim to ensure that our transactions promote a sustainable economy by subjecting each one to a rigorous ESG screening process.

What does a day in the life of a Trade Finance Analyst look like?

As a member of the Trade Finance team the main purpose of the function will be to provide support for the Senior Portfolio Manager and Credit Analyst by managing the middle office role. This involves:

  • Day to day management of transactions in the Fund and Segregated Portfolios – tracking payments, extensions/amendments, chasing and review of transaction monitoring and reporting from counterparties.
  • Daily coordination with the Operations Team, Counterparties and external administrators/ custodians on new transactions/ payments /repayments/ amendments to transactions.
  •  Collating KYC/AML/ ESG documents for counterparties and transactions. Putting together packs of all relevant information for Compliance / Credit Risk approvals and liaising with both teams.
  • Research and collection of data to assist the Credit Analyst with write-ups and transaction evaluation.
  • Overseeing the ESG process, including analysing data from both counterparties and obligors and deriving an ESG rating for both counterparties and obligors / transactions. Ensuring ESG reviews are completed on an annual basis and reporting of ESG statistics.
  • Monthly reporting of positions and performance in the Fund and the segregated portfolios.  
  • Monitoring and maintaining the trade finance portfolio including updating and maintaining credit files, monitoring of credit limits, covenants, collateral and reviewing any waiver and amendment requests, in conjunction with Legal, Credit Risk, Operations and Portfolio Performance & Control teams
  • Ensuring credit exposure/risks are in line with internal policies and risk appetite

What are your ambitions and objectives as an ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee member?

As a young professional in the Trade Finance industry, it is clear that there is a huge and threatening generational gap. We have a highly experienced workforce soon to be retiring in the masses, coupled with a lack of young talent and future leaders entering the industry. One of my objectives as an Emerging Leader Committee Member is to make trade finance an attractive career to aspiring young professionals. 

I am also very passionate about Sustainability, especially in finance, and so another ambition of mine is to raise awareness regarding this topic and its importance. The Trade Finance Industry has a vital role to play in delivering the UN SDGs and therefore, educating the next generation of Trade Financier’s about this topic is crucial.

Johanna Wissing – Panta Rhei – everything flows: goods, services, people within the ever-exciting world of trade finance

What’s your 30-second elevator pitch?

I am a banking & trade finance professional working with banks, NBFIs & corporates globally.

As an international citizen of the world: I was born in Germany, educated in Germany, Switzerland, Russia and the UK. 

I’m a Londonphile, now exploring Asia based in Singapore. I thrive in a fast-paced energetic environment, truly loving trade finance for its significance for the global economy and people around the world touching the lives of so many. As an eternal optimist, who never gives up, I always try to achieve the best for clients and exhibit strong resilience particularly in a highly pressured deal environment. I am passionate about innovation and attracting the next generation of trade financiers to the industry. I am always ready to support others, go the extra mile and satisfy mine and others’ thirst for knowledge and new experiences.

What does a day in the life of a trade financier look like?

As an originator, who focuses particularly on banks, insurance companies, asset managers, funds as well as the public sector no day is ever dull. A usual day starts with catching up with the news on the way to work. Once in the office I go through my emails – being eight hours ahead of our head office means there is always plenty to catch up on from the night before. I always make sure to speak with as many clients as the busy day allows, and proactively call them to update on business and generate new deals. I also regularly write credit applications, run pricing models, and work with our product development teams to come up with new solutions for our clients. Needless to say there is unfortunately also always a bit of admin work involved such as writing meeting notes, completing mandatory training and – my least favourite – inserting my expenses into the system. But the majority of my work is definitely client focused, which is certainly the most fun and very rewarding as I can see the true fruits of my labour when looking at global trade volumes to which I am making a contribution thanks to the work I do.

What are your ambitions and objectives as an ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee member?

As an EL committee member I want to help inspire new talent to enter into the trade finance world and actively pursue a career in this field. There are many avenues into trade, whether that be through working for a bank, insurer, law firm, shipping company, trader etc., and there is much talent in the industry. What is challenging though is that often young people starting out in their careers are not aware of the many opportunities trade opens up and of how exciting and intellectually stimulating it actually is. As part of the EL group I want to help raise this awareness and attract fresh talent early on and support the next generation of trade financiers as they are setting out. Trade is a very exciting career path given the many different areas one can work in within trade and the many things that are there to learn. I have certainly enjoyed the past decade and have managed not only to very quickly advance in my career, but am also privileged to work in some of the most exciting cities in the world, namely London and Singapore. I have always benefited from the guidance and advice from senior professionals and now I want to pass my knowledge and passion for trade on and inspire the next generation

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Vikrant Yadav – ‘Dream Big’

What’s your 30-second elevator pitch?

Coming from a family of teaching professionals, I was given 2 options to choose from – study engineering or medicine ! I chose engineering as biology looked more complex than mathematics formulae. When I graduated, I had the option of joining one of the largest IT company in Mumbai. I decided to join Faculty of Management Studies at Delhi University, one of the oldest MBA college in India with dream to be a marketing professional in one of the FMCG majors. As luck would have it, I got offer from a large Indian bank to join their international banking group. I decided to join the bank, another time when luck trumped all my plans. The bank gave me flavor of Trade Finance structures & correspondent banking. My current bank opportunity came at an interesting time in early 2016. I have had a rich experience handling Distribution, trade finance Structuring and trade finance sales since then.

What does a day in the life of a trade financier look like?

My job is to work with clients to identify their requirements on a day to day basis and offer appropriate solutions. This is all I do right from 9AM in the morning to late in the evening. Most of my days are full of action with multiple client calls and internal discussions. My responsibilities as a frontline sales is not to only drive revenue but to balance it with risk and compliance adherence.

What are your ambitions and objectives as an ITFA Emerging Leaders Committee member?

My primary objective to engage with students and spread awareness and knowledge about trade finance field. As India becomes inter-linked with global supply chains, India would need to develop human resource with right kind of skill sets. Trade Finance professionals would need to evolve as well. As EL at ITFA, I would be delighted to contribute to this evolution. 

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